Why wait?

One of my recent posts spurred a flurry of comments. I posted a similar question over on the facebook SLPeeps page to see what the response was there as well. I am somewhat surprised and a bit dismayed to see the comments were very similar. It seems a lot of SLPs are disenchanted with their work situations. While this doesn’t affect me directly, it concerns me greatly.

After doing a bit of soul searching and deep pondering (amidst a bit of nail biting and video game playing)…I decided…why wait?

The other day I was going through some paperwork and found a slip of paper. During my senior undergrad year, my classmates voted me the one most likely to be the next Barbara Hodson. Now that was (and is) high praise, and great thing to aspire to (particularly from my school where she was recently nominated for sainthood). I can definitely think of worse things than carrying on Dr. Hodson’s work in phonology and language.

The first time I went to ASHA, I went as a student. Granted, an older than average student, but a student. While I was very comfortable, there was still a part of me that was a bit in awe of rubbing elbows with real-life researchers…you know, those people we studied in class. Those incredible beings who wrote the dreaded articles we had to critique (constantly)…

While at ASHA that year I attended the awards ceremony. While it went on forever (well, it did!)…and I hadn’t heard of a lot of the names or even a lot of the awards, I was impressed. It was then and there that I decided one of these days, I would be on that stage and I would receive some award from ASHA. I could think of no higher accolade than to be recognized by my peers as making a difference to my chosen field. To this day, I think about doing something that would be worthy of becoming an ASHA Fellow or some such thing. I think this is another great thing to aspire to…(heck, if I’m totally honest, I’d have to say it’s one of the reasons I’m considering a PhD.)

Recently in one of my posts, I mentioned how when there is a problem, we are either part of the solution or part of the problem. One wise person (Hi Leisa!) suggested I become a member of my state organization. The first thought in my mind was “yeah, right. Like they’d want me,” immediately followed by “Leisa knew that…she’s teasing me!” However, after thinking about it a second time, I realized that was very unfair. Leisa has been nothing but incredibly supportive my entire career (and she’s been there since the beginning) and as someone who is or has been involved with the organization for years, she’s also aware of what the organization needs. So… I have to take her suggestion at face value.

Which means…maybe it’s time to take my own advice. Will I be part of the problem or an active part of the solution. Where can I make the most change? Where can I be the best help? If I’m unwilling to put forth the effort to help change, is it fair of me to complain? I have to remember, change does not happen easily. Entropy is an amazing force to fight against. It may be that suggestions that are made now don’t even take effect for years…one thing is for certain though…

if the suggestions aren’t made, they will never happen. If no one speaks up, nothing will change for the better.

I know I can’t become the next Dr. Hodson sitting in my school doing nothing (no matter how cozy and wonderful it is)…I won’t become an ASHA Fellow just because I rock at playing Go Fish with my 1st grade students. I can’t help change happen if I sit here and blog but take no action. I can’t help my friends and fellow SLPs because I send them 😦 sad faces and hugs. There’s no guarantee my state organization will want me. But if I don’t see, if I don’t try…I don’t have any right to complain. Right?

So…I guess the next thing to do would be to see what it takes to be on the board of my state organization. But, I don’t want to do it alone…Have any of you ever been on your state Speech-Language Association Board? Did you enjoy it? If you haven’t, why not?

If you feel moved…drop me a line here. Let me know your thoughts. Let me know if you’ve decided to take action and maybe join your own state association – maybe we can take the SLP world by storm together.

Until then…Adventure on!



2 thoughts on “Why wait?

  1. I can’t say I joined at the State level, but I did join my local level association. It is The Genesee Valley Speech Language Hearing Association, in Rochester New York and for 5 years I was in the role of membership chairperson. It was an easy commitment and I was so happy to be part of the association. I had to leave due to health reasons (I also stopped practicing for 2 years, but returned 6 months ago). I encourage you to join at any level. Find a way that you can help the association in some way…it will grow to be a collaboration of colleagues and friends that you will come to treasure. I promise you, these people just have so much in common with you, it’s hard to not become instantly bonded. You’ll love the challenges, and making decisions that impact your local area is really awesome, too!

  2. As a matter of fact, I was on my State Board on the legislation side as well as past President for a Speech Pathology organization in my area. Due to time commitments, I had to end my stints on both but I was actively involved for well over ten years. Yes, I do realize and understand the significance of being a part of solutions.

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